Wizard! Chapter 80
William didn’t spend absolutely all of his time on family grounds. However, there also wasn’t much to do around the city. At least, not without money. Although the Yu family was wealthy, none of that was given to William and his sister. Their basic necessities of clothes, food, and shelter were provided for, but they weren’t given any money for spending themselves. Thus, there was little point in going to the market to see what was being sold, and the same was true of other places, such as restaurants or other leisure stores.
William was of the understanding that the person he was looking for moved around frequently. All he was given was a name, Dong Xin, and a section of city to look in. William knew he couldn’t afford to be picky, but the looks people had given him after he asked about Dong Xin didn’t make him very confident. The looks said that William was crazy to look for this person. Perhaps some of the looks were people concerned that a small child was wandering around on his own, though. Regardless, William found himself moving around in a particular section of town, so he thought he was getting closed. He stopped to ask a small man by the side of the road that William would have most politely described as a vagabond. He even had what William would generally call a “hobo bag”, but was more properly called a bindle, hung over his shoulder. “Greetings, sir. Might you know the location of Dong Xin?”
The small man looked down on William, but not that far down. William was only a little more than three feet tall, but this man seemed to be less than five feet. “That fool? What for?”
William saw no reason not to be straightforward. “I heard he was a master of staff forms and techniques, and I wished to learn from him.”
The small man shook his head. “You’re out of luck. Dong Xin makes enough poor decisions that he’ll have gotten himself dead, one way or another, by the time that you are old enough to train.”
It seemed this man shared the exceedingly high opinions of Dong Xin that everyone else seemed to. “That may be so, but it may also not be so. I would still wish to meet him.”
“You should come back in four or six years. If he’s still alive, he might be willing to talk to you then. Until then, there’s no point.”
“It will not do me much good to wait, when I can begin now. Besides, I am more ready for training than it might look like.”
“Oh yeah?” The short man looked over William. “You look pretty skinny, and short. If I’m not mistaken you’re still six or so, but either way…” The man trailed off for a moment. Then, William felt a strange feeling. It was similar to the feeling he’d gotten in front of Yu Xiao. Feeling it again made him feel like he was being thoroughly scrutinized, yet the man was barely looking at him. Then, the man spoke, “You can train ki already? How old are you, really?” The man bent down, slightly, and put his face right in front of William’s.
William could sense ki coming from the short man, but only for a very brief moment while he was observing William. “I was born six years ago, in the spring.” It wouldn’t have been a lie, to say he was six years old, but it also wouldn’t have exactly the truth.
“Are you sure you’re not just really, really short?” the short man said.
William shook his head. “I’m not.” He looked over the short man. Especially at the bindle he still had over his shoulder. “You use that as your staff?”
“Oh, what makes you say something like that? This just holds up my bag.” The small man raised an eyebrow at William.
“Even here in Liaoyang, average vagabonds don’t have the ability to use ki. In addition, the staff is just the right length, and very well maintained.” William almost said ‘especially in comparison to the rest of your appearance’, but he didn’t.
“Yeah?” Dong Xin stood up straighter. He was still short, but he gave off a different appearance. More dangerous. “Why learn the staff?”
“I have a great affinity for it… though not necessarily great talent.”
“Oh? You have an affinity for staves, eh? You figured that out at just six years old?” Dong Xin shook his head. “It takes longer than that to really know.”
William smiled slightly. He definitely agreed with that. “Although I was born but six years old, I feel as if I have spent an entire lifetime with this desire.”
Dong Xin frowned. “You sound as if you really believe that.” He bent back down and looked directly into William’s eyes. “You’re a weird kid. What’s your name, kid?”
“This one is Yu Hui’lam,” William stated.
Dong Xin shook his head. “That doesn’t sound right. Are you sure that’s your name?”
William paused and thought about it for a few moments. It was technically his name. However, he felt no attachment to the Yu family, except for his sister. “My name is… William Stevenson.”
“Like the archmage?” Dong Xin put on a funny smile. “My teacher’s teacher’s teacher saw the real one, once. Terrible at staffwork. Well, a bit better than one would expect from Ostana though.” He looked William in the eyes. “I guess I could teach you. Whatcha payin’?”
William was glad Yu Xiao had prepared him for this. William didn’t have any money. However, Dong Xin didn’t really want money either. Apparently, what he really liked were stories. “You’ve heard of the archmage William… how would you like to hear a collection of firsthand tales? I promise you will hear nothing more accurate.”
“Accurate?” Dong Xin spit, off to the side. “Stories aren’t accurate from the first moment they are told. Let alone over a hundred years later.” He paused for a moment. “However, if the stories are interesting and unique, that’s a whole lot better than accurate.”
William clapped his hands together. “Excellent. I can promise they’ll give you a new perspective. Have you heard of Archmage William’s hexagonal crystal staff?” Don Xin nodded, and rolled his eyes as if it were something everyone had heard of. William grinned. “Did you know… it actually had a name?” Dong Xin pretended to look disinterested, but William could tell he was listening carefully as William started his story.